Tamarisk Technologies is in licensing talks with several Big Pharmas over a tech which it claims could solve the oral insulin puzzle and “turn the industry upside down”.
For the first time the drug discovery firm has successfully encapsulated insulin in nano scale in what is known as serum-specific nano-encapsulate particles (SSNe), which the company claims can “trick” the body into believing it is a naturally occurring molecule.
“The nanosize of the particle allows it to completely diffuse,” said Principal & CEO Daniel DeBrouse. “It travels through the cell in the same manner as fatty acids or cholesterol would. It moves through the endoplasmic and ultimately exocytosis to the lymphatic cells before release into the blood.”
The platform works by shrinking the insulin particles – notoriously difficult to encapsulate because of large polymer size – by freeze drying them, then upscaling it again using spray tech much in the same manner of paint and a stencil.
DeBrouse told in-PharmaTechnologist: “When you spray it, you use the right size orifice for what you want. It’s a very simple and inexpensive process, and the nanoparticle is then able to trick the cell into believing it is a naturally occurring molecule.”
He said the technology has succeeded where many others have failed because researchers are concentrating on getting the molecules through the gastrointestinal tract without breaking down, and do not consider the protease enzymes that lie beyond in the intestinal tract.
“It took a while to formulate, but once that was identified I ended up with a vehicle resistant to not only gastrofluid but also stomach fluid. It is completely protected all the way through the gastrointestinal tract,” he added.
When questioned about Biocons recent efforts over its oral insulin – which recently failed in Phase II – DeBrouse said: “They will continue to fail because everyone is overlooking the fact they have to get across the membrane in the intestinal tract after they’ve got through the gastrointestinal tract.”
Referring to oral insulin as “the holy grail” of the drug delivery world, DeBrouse told us the platform has the potential to be “incredibly disruptive” to the industry.
“It will turn the industry upside down,” he said. “We all know the whole URL of drug delivery is insulin. If you can deliver that orally you can pretty much deliver anything.”
He insisted it could push a host of injectable methods out of the market because of improved patient compliance, the fact the technology is cheap and easy to reproduce, and the fact Tamarisk has made all findings public for free.
“The lowest bioavailability we’ve ever seen is 90 per cent,” he added. “This is a very challenging alternative to injectable inner muscular methods, which has a bioavailability of around 91.08 per cent.”
Tamarisk is also pondering clinical trials over a multitude of other therapies, with DeBrouse insisting “I have not yet found anything we can’t encapsulate using our tech. I’ve tested everything from simple Magnesium to antibiotic, up until this study on insulin.
“Just consider the implications,” he said. “You can turn cancer into a manageable disease just by giving the patient a long term low dose of chemo. In theory, patients could live to a ripe old age by controlling the disease like you do with HIV.”
The firm is also currently in discussions with universities in Oklahoma over use of their lab facilities for testing on small cell carcinoma therapies.